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41st Annual Northern California Book Awards

Celebrating books published by Northern California authors and California literary translators in 2021

Sunday, September 11, 2022 • 2:00 pm

press release
Celebrate Northern California's vibrant literary scene on Sunday afternoon, September 11, 2022, when the 41st annual Northern California Book Awards will recognize the best published works of 2021 by Northern California authors and California literary translators. Reviewers and editors—members of Northern California Book Reviewers—select the awards. The event is free and open to the public.

The NCBAs are presented by Northern California Book Reviewers, Poetry Flash, and San Francisco Public Library, with our community partners Mechanics' Institute Library, Women's National Book Association-San Francisco Chapter, and Pen West.

The California Translation Awards in Poetry and Prose will honor works of translation by literary translators based all over the Golden State.

The Fred Cody Award for Lifetime Achievement and Service will be presented to a distinguished member of the Northern California literary community. The winning authors will briefly present their nominated books. Nominated books will be available for online purchase during the event. Eligible books are divided into categories: Fiction, General Nonfiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, California Translation (Poetry and Prose), and Children's Literature (Younger Readers, Middle Grade, Young Adult).

The winners in each category will be announced in-person at the awards ceremony. The NCBR Annual Recommended Reading List, all of the nominated books, will be celebrated at the ceremony.

NCBA 2022 Online Bookstore: The featured and nominated books are available for purchase here, hosted by City Lights Books: is an online bookstore that financially supports local independent bookstores and gives back to the book community.

For more information:, 510.525-5476, or cell-text 510.612.3958.

2022 Awards Program


Isabel Allende
Celebrated Bay Area-based Chilean writer and novelist; "the world's most widely read Spanish-language author." Violeta, a novel, Ballantine Books, 2022, The Soul of a Woman, a memoir, Ballantine Books, 2021, A Long Petal of the Sea, a novel, Ballantine Books, 2020. Isabel Allende is traveling and will accept by video.


Mule Kick Blues and Last Poems, Michael McClure, edited with an introduction by Garrett Caples, City Lights


ZYZZYVA, A San Francisco Journal of Arts & Letters


Tenderness, Derrick Austin, BOA Editions, Ltd. ()
A Symmetry, Ari Banias, W.W. Norton ()
Yellow Rain, Mai Der Vang, Graywolf Press () WINNER
West Portal, Benjamin Gucciardi, The University of Utah Press ()
Requeening, Amanda Moore, Ecco ()
And If the Woods Carry You, Erin Rodoni, Southern Indiana Review Press ()


My Year Abroad, Chang-rae Lee, Riverhead Books ()
The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu, Tom Lin, Little, Brown and Company ()
The Confession of Copeland Cane, Keenan Norris, The Unnamed Press () WINNER
Chouette, Claire Oshetsky, Ecco ()
The Archer, Shruti Swamy, Algonquin Books ()


Her Honor: My Life on the Bench…What Works, What's Broken, and How to Change It, LaDoris Hazzard Cordell, Celadon Books ()
Loving before Loving: A Marriage in Black and White, Joan Steinau Lester, University of Wisconsin Press ()
Model Citizen, Joshua Mohr, MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux () WINNER
The Last Nomad: Coming of Age in the Somali Desert, Shugri Said Salh, Algonquin Books ()
The Night Lake: A Young Priest Maps the Topography of Grief, Liz Tichenor, Counterpoint ()


Czeslaw Milosz: A California Life, Cynthia L. Haven, Heyday ()
The Premonition: A Pandemic Story, Michael Lewis, W.W. Norton ()
This Is Your Mind on Plants, Michael Pollan, Penguin Press ()
Orwell's Roses, Rebecca Solnit, Viking ()
By the Light of Burning Dreams: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Second American Revolution, David Talbot and Margaret Talbot, Harper () WINNER


California Translation in Poetry
The New World Written: Selected Poems, Maria Baranda, edited and partially translated by Paul Hoover, Yale University Press, from the Spanish, Yale University Press ()
The All-Seeing Eye: Collected Poems by Shang Qin, translated by John Balcom, from the Chinese, Cambria Press ()
The Blinding Star, Blanca Varela, translated by Lisa Allen Ortiz and Sara Daniele Rivera, from the Spanish, Tolsun Books () WINNER

California Translation in Prose
Antonio, Beatriz Bracher, translated by Adam Morris, from the Portuguese, New Directions () WINNER
I Was Never the First Lady, Wendy Guerra, translated by Alicia Achy Obejas, from the Spanish, HarperVia ()
Battles in the Desert, José Emilio Pacheco, translated by Katherine Silver, from the Spanish, New Directions ()


Younger Readers
What Is Love?, Mac Barnett, illustrated by Carson Ellis, Chronicle Books ()
Home Is in Between, Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Lavanya Naidu, Macmillan ()
Out of the Blue: How Animals Evolved from Prehistoric Seas, Elizabeth Shreeve, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon, Candlewick () WINNER

Middle Grade
The Lion of Mars, Jennifer L. Holm, Random House Books for Young Readers ()
Recipe for Disaster, Aimee Lucido, Versify ()
The Samosa Rebellion, Shanthi Sekaran, Katherine Tegen Books () WINNER

Young Adult
Luck of the Titanic, Stacey Lee, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers ()
The Mirror Season, Anna-Marie McLemore, Feiwel & Friends () WINNER
The Girls I've Been, Tess Sharpe, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers ()

History of the Northern California Book Awards
Since 1981, the Northern California Book Reviewers, a volunteer group of book reviewers and book review editors, have honored the work of Northern California authors. One of the group's founders was Fred Cody, proprietor of the famed independent bookstore in Berkeley. The NCBR created an award in his name to honor a lifetime of achievements and distinguished service to the literary community. The Fred Cody Award for lifetime achievement is presented every year to a member of the literary community. Previous recipients include Juan Felipe Herrera, Daniel Ellsberg, Sandra M. Gilbert, Jack Hirschman, Judy Grahn, Susan Griffin, Willis Barnstone, Adam Hochschild, Kay Ryan, Michael Pollan, Al Young, Andrew Hoyem, Diane di Prima, Orville Schell, Philip Levine, Ronald Takaki, Francisco X. Alarcón, Carolyn Kizer, Ishmael Reed, Maxine Hong Kingston, Robert Hass, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Malcolm Margolin, Adrienne Rich, Wallace Stegner, Kay Boyle, William Everson, Alice Walker, Gary Snyder, Jessica Mitford, Tillie Olsen, M.F.K. Fisher, Robert Duncan, Nancy J. Peters, and Tamim Ansary.

NCBA Guidelines and Information:

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